Category Archives: Victorian (1837AD – 1902AD)

Bowd Slasher

For hundreds of years the Peace Egg or Pace Egg play was a common part of the Easter festivities in Lancashire with bands of disguised mummers going from house to house presenting their play.

Gradually what was once an adult tradition became one enacted by children often gaining more in donations than their parents could earn in the wool and cotton industries.

Below is an contemporary observation of one of these performances by the Lancashire dialect writer John Trafford Clegg (Th’ Owd Weighver)

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Lancashire Sketches by Edwin Waugh

Lancashire Sketches - Edwin WaughIn this volume, relating to a district with which the writer was intimately acquainted, he has gathered up a few points of local interest, and, in connection with these, he has endeavoured to embody something of the traits of life in South Lancashire with descriptions of its scenery, and with such gleanings from its local history as bore upon the subject, and, under the circumstances, were available to him.

Waugh is commemorated on the Rochdale Dialect Writers’ Memorial,

“In grateful memory of four Rochdale writers of the Lancashire dialect who have preserved for our children in verse and prose that will not die, the strength and tenderness, the gravity and humours of the folk of our day, in the tongue and talk of the people.”
Erected in the year 1900.

  • Chapel Island
  • Ramble from Bury to Rochdale
  • The Cottage of Tim Bobbin
  • The Birthplace of Tim Bobbin
  • Ramble from Rochdale to the Top of Blackstone Edge
  • The Town of Heywood and its Neighbourhood
  • The Grislehurst Boggart
  • Boggat Ho’ Clough
  • Rostherne Mere
  • Oliver Fernleaf’s Watch
  • Norbeck
  • Wails of the Workless Poor
  • A Wayside Incident During the Cotton Famine
  • Saint Catherine’s Chapel
  • The Knocker-Up
  • The Complaint of a Sad Complaint
  • Firelit Shed
  • Dulesgate
  • Pilling Moss
  • The Forest of Rossendale
  • Tattlin’ Mary
  • The Storm
  • Among the Preston Operatives

AVAILABLE AT LULU.COM – £9.99

Samuel Bamford’s Autobiography, Volume 1: Early Days

Samuel Bamford (28 February 1788 – 13 April 1872, was an English radical and writer, who was born in Middleton, Lancashire.

In August 1819, Bamford led a group from Middleton to St Peter’s Fields, to attend a meeting pressing for parliamentary reform, where they witnessed the Peterloo Massacre.

Bamford was arrested and charged with treason. Although the evidence showed that he had not been involved in the violence, he was nevertheless found guilty of inciting a riot and sentenced to a year in Lincoln gaol.

The experience of the massacre made a deep impression on Bamford, and convinced him that the state’s power would always succeed against radical militancy. He came to be seen as a voice for radical reform, but opposed to any activism that involved physical force.

Bamford was the author of poetry (mostly in standard English)but of those in dialect several showing sympathy with the conditions of the working class became widely popular.

“Early Days” covers Samuel’s life from 1788 – 1812

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Rochdale Town Hall Fire

 

Rochdale Town Hall before the fire

Rochdale Town Hall prior to the fire of 1883

Rochdale Town Hall, is a fine example of gothic revival architecture and home to some of the best modern stained glass in the world. The grandeur of this building was such that according to local legend, Hitler had plans to take the building stone by stone back to Germany if he won the war. This is also supposedly the reason why Rochdale, despite it’s industry, escaped pretty much unscathed during the German bombings.

A competition was held to produce a design for the building which was won by William Henry Crossland. Work started in 1866 on the site of an abandoned 17th Century mansion and was completed five years later at a cost of £160,000 (eight times the original budget, and a remarkable sum for a town the size of Rochdale.) the work was so costly that to this day some of the internal decoration remains unfinished.

But what visitors to the town may not know is that the building you see today is different from the original.

The original clock tower was 134 feet high and had a 106 foot wooden spire richly gilded and surmounted by figures of Saint George and the Dragon.

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The Man They Couldn’t Hang – Babbacombe Lee

Babbicombe TragedyOn the morning of 15th November 1884, 68 year-old Emma Ann Whitehead Keyse was found dead at her home, “The Glen,” at Babbacombe Bay near Torquay by her servants who had been roused by the smell of smoke in the property.

According to the post mortem her skull was fractured in two places and her throat had been cut so severely that all the main arteries were severed and even the parietal bone was notched.

An attempt had also been made to burn the body and several rooms of the house. A strong odour of paraffin oil still evident on her clothes several hours later.

With no sign of forced entry into the house, John Lee, half-brother to the cook, Elizabeth Harris, and the only man known to be in the house at the time of the murder was soon arrested.

At his trial, the jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict.

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John Bright by Charles Anthony Vince

John BrightBiography of John Bright, British Radical and Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation, In partnership with Richard Cobden, he founded the Anti-Corn Law League.

In 1843 Bright was the Free Trade candidate at a by-election at Durham. He was defeated, but his successful competitor was unseated on petition, and at the second contest Bright was returned. In the Anti-Corn Law movement the two speakers, Cobden and Bright, complemented of each other. Cobden did the reasoning, Bright supplied the declamation, but mingled argument with appeal. No orator of modern times rose more rapidly. From 1847 until 1857 he was MP for Manchester, but his unpopular opposition of the Crimean War lost him his seat but a few months later he was returned unopposed as one of the two MPs for Birmingham. Bright died at his home One Ash on 27 March 1889 and was buried in the graveyard of the meeting-house of the Religious Society of Friends in Rochdale.

AVAILABLE AT LULU.COM – £8.00

Also available for Kindle

Self-Help By the People – The History of the Rochdale Pioneers by George Jacob Holyoake

The history of the founding of the Co-operative movementSelf-Help By the People - The History of the Rochdale Pioneers

The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers (est. 1844) formed the basis for the principles on which co-operatives around the world operate to this day. On 21 December 1844, they opened their store with a very meager selection of butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and a few candles. Within three months, they expanded their selection to include tea and tobacco, and they were soon known for providing high quality, unadulterated goods at a fair prices and honest weights. The profits from the shop were returned to the members as a dividend based on the amount each spent in the shop.

AVAILABLE AT LULU.COM – £10.00